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Green Thumb Tips

Echter’s Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.

Flower Gardens
Wait until danger of frost has passed before planting tender plants. Frost blankets can help protect your plants from unexpected late freezes.
 
Pinch back your annuals at planting to promote stronger, bushier plants and more flower production.

More on Planting and Caring for Annuals and Vegetables

Annuals, vegetable plants and roses, selected from inside our greenhouses should be “hardened off” before planting outdoors. This is done by exposing the plants to the hot sun and drying winds gradually until the plants are fully acclimated.
 
Use weed preventer to keep weeds from sprouting in your flower and vegetable gardens after you have
set out your plants. Don't use weed preventer where you are sowing seed until after it is up and growing.
 

Container Gardens
If your outdoor hanging baskets and planters have dried out too quickly in the past, mix granules of Soil Moist (a polymer) into the media of your container gardens and hanging baskets before you plant. This will help retain water for the plants to use as needed. We've added polymers to Echter’s Container Mix so you can reduce the frequency of watering.
 

Perennials & Roses
Deadhead, (cut off the old flowers) on daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other spring-blooming bulbs, but
don't remove foli
age until after it turns yellow. The foliage is making nutrients for the bulbs for next year's show of color.
 
Put up plant supports now for perennials that need to be staked, like delphiniums, peonies, yarrow, etc.  Before you know it these plants will be too tall to do it easily.
 
Vegetable Gardens
Make your list of the tomato varieties and pepper varieties you want to grow in your garden from these links. It's easier if you know what you want before you go shopping.

  Echter's Tomato Varieties        Echter's Pepper Varieties

Plant your corn when the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees. Plant in blocks to improve pollination by
the wind.
 
Ross netting over your strawberries will help keep birds and squirrels out of your fruit crops. In addition,
Bird Scare tape will be beneficial in protecting your fruit.

Check the "When is it safe..." link mentioned above to our Frost Hardiness Chart which will enable you to judge when to plant your vegetable starts.
 

Lawn Care
Mow your lawn during the day or early evening when the grass is dry. Never mow when there is moisture
on the blades. This encourages the spread of disease and causes the clipping to clump.
 
If you fed your lawn in April, put on another application of fertilizer before the summer heat arrives.
The best part of the day to water your lawn is early in the morning while it is still cool. There will be a
lot less moisture lost to evaporation and the grass will be more resistant to fungal disease.
Now is a great time to reseed the bare spots in your lawn. Rake the areas thoroughly, scatter the grass seed and water it in, so that the seed can settle into the loose soil. Keep the seed moist until it has germinated. Fertilize with New Lawn Starter. Do not use a fertilizer with weed preventer in the areas where you have seeded or it will prevent the grass seed from germinating.

Echter's Grass Seed Blends

 If you had disease problems in your lawn last year, apply Ferti-lome F-Stop as a preventive measure.

Trees & Shrubs
Lilacs
Prune off old lilac flowers just below the flower right after they bloom. Trim out a couple of the thickest branches all the way to the base to help keep the lilac full
and well shaped. Prune other early-flowering shrubs after their blooming time as well.

Did you have worms in your apples last year? Help prevent these nuisances by spraying your apple trees with Bonide Fruit Tree Spray. Spray your fruit trees as soon as the flowers fade to control insects early. Another preventive measure is
to rake up weekly all the apples which fall to the ground.
 
 
 

Water Gardening

Water HyacinthDivide water lilies and other hardy pond plants this month. Place Aquatic Plant Tabs into the soil of your pots of water plants to fertilize them.
Water hyacinths and water lettuce are nature's floating filters. They help oxygenate the water and keep algae growth down. Algae can also be
controlled by a floating barley straw bale in the pond.
Wait to introduce the tropical water plants when the water temperature reaches and stabilizes at 70 degrees.
 
Take your camera when visiting public gardens or even your friends' gardens.
If you want to have a beautiful flower or shrub you’ve seen, bring in a picture or a sample and we can help identify it for you
.
 
Indoor Plants
Move your houseplants out to the covered patio at the end of May. Keep them out of the wind and direct sunlight. Remember to check them for dryness, since they will dry out much faster than they did indoors.
 
Fertilize your indoor plants twice a month with Jack's Classic Houseplant Special. A good fertilizing program will help your houseplants get their good spurt of new growth this spring.
 

Wildlife
When trying to lure butterflies to your garden, place the butterfly-attracting plants in a large grouping. 
A saucer full of wet sand will provide water for butterflies. Ask for a list of plants which will attract butterflies to your yard at our Plant Doctor desk.
 
Attract ladybugs to your yard by planting marigolds, angelica, roses, butterfly weed, yarrow and many other plants. You can start your “colony” with ladybugs from Echter’s. Remember to disperse them in late evening when it is calm and mist the plant on which you need control first.
 

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